Ceramic matrix composites exhibit significant nonlinear stress-strain behavior that makes them attractive as potential materials for many high temperature applications. The mechanisms for this nonlinear stress-strain behavior are all associated with various types of damage in the composites, e.g. transverse matrix cracks and individual fiber failures. Modal acoustic emission has been employed to aid in discerning the damage accumulation that occurs during elevated temperature tensile stress-rupture of woven Hi-Nicalon fiber, BN interphase, SiC matrix composites. It is shown that modal acoustic emission is an effective monitor of the relative damage accumulation in the composites and locator of the damage and failure events as a function of strain (stress), time at temperature, and temperature gradients along the length of the elevated temperature test specimen.